How To Stay Productive While Working And Traveling
Being able to work and travel as a freelancer is an experience many people wish to have. From fancy meals to the thrill of a new city or change of scenery, travelling for work has several advantages. Not only do you get to see the world, but you also get to make money while doing it.
Knowing how to stay productive can be a challenge, especially when it comes to balancing your time. If you have the opportunity to work and travel, maybe you just landed a job as a contractor and would like to explore the world, then you’ll want to make sure you are getting the best of both worlds. Finding what works for you is key to being productive.
Travelling around the world can be exciting, but several factors can negatively impact your rate of productivity. Productivity levels tend to reduce if certain aspects of your trip are not planned properly. Anything from a poor internet connection to loud hotel guests can create an environment that isn’t conducive to productivity.
It can be hard to focus on work since you may be tempted to spend much of your time exploring every nook and cranny of the city and what it has to offer you. But, without a strong commitment to focusing on your work, you may find yourself falling behind deadlines. By holding yourself accountable, you make sure that you are taking care of your work to-do list at the same time as you are enjoying the new location you’re in. If you want to learn how to stay productive while travelling, take note of the following tips to have a proper work-life balance.
1. Research your destination
Before travelling, you should research the country you are going to and have a decent amount of information on things such as the language and currency. It will be great also to research your accommodation and familiarise yourself with the area beforehand. For example, knowing where the closest shops and ATMs are could save you a lot of time when you get there. You could also use Google Maps to show your routes to the places of interest within the country. This will help you know the amount of time and distance it takes to get to the locations you intend to visit on your trip.
Having a suitable place to work can help increase your focus. Before embarking on a trip, make sure to choose accommodation with business amenities such as an office centre, if possible. You can also try to find different co-working spaces around your location as this is another great and easy option to work from if you’d like the office atmosphere. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people who are working remotely as well.
You can designate a particular space in your room as your temporary workspace when you arrive at your destination. Make sure that your space is comfortable and personalised to enhance a positive remote work experience. To save you time and energy, organise and map out your upcoming meetings and work before your trip, so you know what to do once you reach your destination.
2. Invest in the right work tools
It is essential to invest in a good laptop and phone when working while travelling. The last thing you would want is to have a faulty laptop, broken charger, or glitching phone when far from home. Imagine being in a foreign country where you do not speak the language and explaining the issues with your computer. Having the right tools ensures that you avoid the headache of a laptop that cannot be plugged into foreign outlets. Or a microphone that does not work anymore, thereby affecting work calls. Strapping yourself with the right gadgets for your type of work also saves you unnecessary expenses and saves time.
Not every location in the world has a stable internet. It is wise to carry a portable WiFi device if possible to give you easy access to the internet at any time. Download all the documents you need in case there is no WiFi when you go out. Staying productive on the go is about always being one step ahead. Therefore it is imperative that you do what needs to be done at all times during your trip to avoid falling behind. It would be best to also be mindful of security. It is not advisable to carry expensive gear everywhere you go during your travels.
Consider investing in a theft-proof backpack or carrying case for your items. Ideally, look for something that can be strapped around your body, has no easily accessible zippers, and is resistant to cutting from scissors or knives.
3. Plan ahead
There are several reasons for traveling while working. Some of these include closing a contract or strengthening partnership ties with an important client. Knowing your purpose for travelling and how to be productive while on the move sets you up for a successful trip. If It’s a routine work trip to several destinations in the world or a personal decision to become a digital nomad, it is essential to plan ahead of your travels.
Create goals and keep them in mind throughout your trip. Having a set of goals helps keep you more organised and focused on the work outcomes you are looking for at the end of your journey. Plan your days, and make sure to set aside some personal time to explore the cities and towns you find yourself in. Having a detailed to-do list helps make things easier and keeps you focused on important tasks you have to finish, such as meeting up with a client or taking a tour. Try to reward yourself after each successful work session with something fun or new or simply just a bit of time to relax. You can manage work better when you know you have something interesting to look forward to.
It is a good practice to gauge how much time you are spending on various tasks. Time management is essential to productivity and can help you map out the amount of time it takes to do certain tasks. While tracking yourself, you can learn to limit activities that are not productive and notice the things that distract you. You can also learn to track and streamline certain processes that take a long time to complete. This will give you a better understanding of how to stay productive while travelling.
4. Create a routine
Learn more about yourself to be able to manage your time better and improve your productivity levels. You should know what works best for you, especially when you are overseas. It is essential to know where you work best, and the times you have the most energy. Are you the type who can work in noisy cafes without getting distracted? Or maybe you can only work in quiet areas such as libraries and co-working spaces? Are your energy levels higher in the morning, afternoon, or late at night? You have to consider all these factors to determine what works best for you.
It is normal for energy levels to fluctuate throughout the day, so monitor when you are sharp or tired to know when your energy is at its peak or lowest. Set the right task for the right moment. Try to make the best use of time by working on intense tasks at a time most convenient for you. Let’s say, for example, you can power through three hours or more of focused work in the afternoon. In that case, it makes sense to set aside personal time in the morning to do a few things you like, such as take a walk as exercise. You can even use this time exploring your new environment to scout out new and interesting locations to work. It takes a bit of time to figure out your personal working style, but it is worth it at the end of the day. Experiment and find out how you work best and find a conducive environment that promotes your productivity.
5. Minimise your distractions
If you’re used to being productive back home, you know that finding the right spot to work is a crucial aspect of working while travelling. Be it a quiet cafe, a hotel restaurant, a co-working space or your hotel room; you need to make a choice that suits you best. Even in a crowded place or on a commute during travel, you can listen to music or use noise-cancelling headphones while working to tune out the noise from your surroundings. The trick is to know what distracts you and takes your attention away from important work. Committing to the work you have to do by avoiding loud and distracting areas allows you to find your own zone and complete your tasks.
You can also find co-working spaces where you get internet, air-conditioning, desk space and many more facilities. If you are the type who works well with people around, this is the perfect setup for you. Some cafes also offer their space to workers and are fine with you setting up your workstation while you enjoy your food and drinks, and they sometimes offer free WiFi. Putting your phone away can also help you to work more productively. The constant buzz from family and friends or social media notifications are bound to distract you. If you do not need your phone for any important tasks, such as keeping up with the team, it is best to put it out of sight and give your full attention to the work at hand.
6. Prepare a contingency plan
You should always be prepared with a Plan B, especially when you travel. It helps to have other options available when things do not go according to plan. If you are travelling while you work, it helps to know that you have the appropriate tools and gadgets to help you. If those gadgets do not work for any reason, you should always be ready with a plan to either fix or replace them. For example, travelling without a power bank would be a big mistake. Not every location will have electrical sources to plug in your phone’s charger. Having a fully charged power bank ensures that you are able to use your devices wherever you are.
Being prepared for anything also helps you gain control of any situation. Have a backup hotel or accommodation to move to in case your first choice is no longer available. You can also look into the closest embassy or consulate for your home country that you can access quickly from the area you will be in. Locate the nearest police station and find out what the emergency numbers for the area are, while also memorizing the address where you are staying.
It is crucial to be calm if there is any unexpected change in your plans. The best action to take is to reorganise tasks, set priorities, and follow through on them.
7. Stay updated
Keep yourself informed about current affairs and be up to date on local and international news that relate to the country or city. You should know before you leave whether there are events like elections, national holidays, protests or strikes, marches, or any other major occurrence that may affect your trip.
Also, keep an eye out for the weather in your intended location. Your productivity depends on your ability to function in whatever weather you may be met with. If there will be any significant weather challenges, you’ll want to ensure that you have things on hand to deal with these. For example, a waterproof briefcase, umbrella, and poncho in a rainy location, or a warm coat and scarf if snow is predicted.
8. Let loose
Making room for some free time to explore and experience a new place is very important. It is good to make friends and network in new places. These connections can go a long way to helping you in your career down the road. You may also find more professional opportunities as your network expands. Engaging in conversation with locals will also give you an inside scoop on what goes on in your new location and the best spots in town for different activities. Try to take advantage of enjoying a city through the eyes of its native people to immerse yourself in the culture and place fully. Expand your network as you meet new people in the airport, hotel, cafe or while on a tour. Starting conversations with people could benefit you professionally or give you a better perspective on work.
Staying present in your space is crucial to your well-being. It is vital to be present and enjoy the moment. It is easy to get wrapped up in an upcoming presentation or an important client meeting while travelling. As mentioned previously, developing a balance is essential – all work and no play can lead to frustration and burnout.
When you are done with work for the day and are touring a place, it is better to listen, observe and interact with people, and experience unique places. Enjoy your free time when you can and focus on work when it is time for work.
9. Take care of yourself
As much as hotel buffets can be a fantastic experience, try to pace yourself while travelling for work. Self-discipline is key to keeping a healthy diet and schedule. It’s important to have a balanced diet while you’re travelling, feed your body and brain with rich and nurturing food that will keep you productive for a whole day as certain foods tend to make you feel less energetic and more lethargic. If you can find fresh fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your diet, aim for these as much as possible as this will give you lots of fuel to use during your busy days.
Do make time for exercise while you travel. Working out in the morning is the best way to get some exercise done. Packing a few gym clothes could help motivate you to use the hotel gym or go for a good run or stroll. You could also decide to swim for an excellent full-body workout. Exercise helps to relieve stress and clear the mind as well. Getting some downtime for you to indulge in activities that you love also helps to keep you refreshed and ready for a productive day of work. It’s important to slow down and not work too much, make time to explore the destinations, try new food and get to know your cities as this will help you feel more energised. Make sure to get enough rest and sleep to not burn out from doing too much.
Managing your time is essential when it comes to travelling while working. Taking regularly scheduled breaks helps to improve your concentration and can make for a better, more productive trip.
These tips can help you make the most out of your time for both work and pleasure. Plan your day according to how best you operate, and do not forget to enjoy every bit of your time as you build memories, make connections and gain knowledge. Travelling while you work can be exhausting, but it does come with its perks once you can manage your tasks and activities properly. Aim to stay present after you have completed your work for the day. It is essential to disconnect from work at the times you have set for yourself to rest and explore.
Article by Remote Worker
Remote Worker is the UK’s leading job board for Remote Working professionals. A jobsite that harnesses artificial intelligence and programmatic media buying to match quality candidates with remote-centered employers, as well as, providing expert insights and valuable support for organisations that are embracing remote teams